May 26, 2022
Hours after a gunman armed with two AR-15-style rifles massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott attended a high-dollar fundraiser for his reelection campaign at a private home 300 miles from the site of the shooting.
The Tuesday evening fundraiser took place at the home of Huntsville resident Jeff Bradley, who confirmed that he hosted the closed-door event but did not provide additional details, such as an attendance list.
"He was counting dollars while they were counting bodies," Beto O'Rourke, who is set to face Abbott in the November gubernatorial race, wrote on Twitter in response to news of the fundraiser, which was first reported by the Texas-based outlet Quorum Report.
Mark Miner, a spokesperson for Abbott's cash-flush reelection campaign, said in a statement that "after holding a briefing and press conference on the current wildfires in Taylor County, where he also provided an update on the situation in Uvalde, the governor did stop by a previously scheduled event last night at a private home in Walker County."
"All campaign and political activity, including a scheduled fundraiser for this evening, have been postponed until further notice," added Miner, who didn't explain why Abbott decided to attend the Walker County event.
\u201cHave we gotten to the point in this country where, for at least some politicians, raising campaign money is more important than responding to a horrific act of mass violence that had literally just happened?\nhttps://t.co/gbvJBXrDeL\u201d— Noah Bookbinder (@Noah Bookbinder) 1653518400
Abbott is also slated to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual gathering in Houston on Friday alongside former President Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans, but the governor suggested Wednesday that he has not made a final decision on whether to go through with the appearance.
"As far as future plans are concerned, listen, I'm living moment-to-moment right now," Abbott told reporters. "My heart, my head, and my body are in Uvalde right now, and I'm here to help the people who are hurting."
During a press conference with top state and local officials in Uvalde on Wednesday, Abbott suggested that the crisis of gun violence in the U.S. is attributable to mental illness, though the governor also said the gunman had "no known mental health history."
O'Rourke, a former U.S. representative for Texas' 16th Congressional District, interrupted the press conference by walking up to the stage and accusing the state's political leadership of "doing nothing" in the wake of the Uvalde shooting.
"This is on you!" O'Rourke shouted as security attempted to push him back.
After the press conference resumed, Abbott said Texans should "put aside personal agendas and think of somebody other than ourselves"--a comment believed to be aimed at O'Rourke.
Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, responded that "the same governor who told Beto O'Rourke this isn't the time for politics took the time to stop at a political fundraiser for himself after he knew... kids had been murdered in a Texas elementary school."
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